"white blotches" on smoke plant----lichens or fungus. If fungus what can I do about it. #326845 - Ask Extension

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"white blotches" on smoke plant----lichens or fungus. If fungus what can I do about it. #326845

Asked May 30, 2016, 8:44 PM EDT

Mary--regarding question after mine regarding smoke bushes from Sept. of 2015 from "anonymous reader: You can clearly see the "white blotches" on the plant if you enlarge the right side picture of me holding the branch.  I am guessing it is some sort of a fungal disease--and not lichens.  All 4 of my plants have this to some degree----and if it is a fungus I would like to know what to do about it.  Don't care if you make this public, but would appreciate it if you could email me directly as well ---as I was unaware you answered my questions last Fall on your website.  As you may have guessed not exactly an internet "guru".  Thanks Jim Florence

Waukesha County Wisconsin

Expert Response

Jim,

I was asked to answer your question.  If you want me to respond to you directly, please send email to shane@msu.edu

The picture from last fall was not high enough resolution for me to be positive, but the white patches do look like a lichen
Here is a link to a site with pictures showing a wide array of lichens.

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/lichen-lichens-tree-trunk.html

There are also a great number of white "crust" fungi that grow on bark surfaces.  Some are secondary fungi that colonize branches that have been weakened by some other factor such as borers, winter damage, or poor limb structure.

Basically, the management strategy is to prune out what is obviously dead or declining.

If you send me a higher resolution picture I can give you a more definitive answer.
William Shane Replied May 31, 2016, 9:18 AM EDT

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